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LESSON 4472 Thu 23 Jun 2022 Daily Wisdom DO GOOD PURIFY MIND “When troubles beset us, how do we let go of suffering? What can we do, so the pain may dissolve, dissipate and cease to trouble us?” The Truth will set you free.
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LESSON 4472 Thu  23 Jun  2022

Daily Wisdom


“When troubles beset us, how do we let go of suffering?
What can we do, so the pain may dissolve, dissipate and cease to trouble us?”
The Truth will set you free.
Buddha at Peace


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Satipatthana Sutta –

The Four Foundations of

​A new Translation
​word by word.

Table of Contents. 

M 1.  Introduction to Satipatthana Sutta.
M 2.    Four Foci for Attentiveness.
M 3.   Why Focus on Pain?

Mindfulness of the Body = kāy-ānupassanā 
M 4.   Preliminaries Needed for Meditation.
M 5.  Meditation on the Breath = Ānāpāna.
M 6.  Meditation Throughout the Day.
M 6.   Inhabiting the Body (kāye).  
Mindfulness of Feelings = vedan-ānupassanā 

M 6 a.  viharati = Our True Home,  as Spiritual Practitioners.
Mindfulness of Thoughts (and State of Mind)  = chitt-ānupassanā 
M 7.  Noting and Naming Thoughts.
Mindfulness of the Dharma or Spiritual Qualities
 = dhamm-ānupassanā.
End Note. 
M 8.   pajānāti  and ānupassī 

The Need for New Translation of satipaṭṭhāna sutta.

M 9.   Paragraphs Used.

(Pronunciation note.  A bar
above or dot below a letter, called diacritic, is important for it
indicates proper pronunciation of sacred language.  Please read my page
on “Pronouncing the Sanskrit.”)

​Introduction to the Satipatthana Sutta.

Satipatthana Sutta is an important discourse or Sutta of the Buddha, for
it describes a method of releasing and resolving the pain and problems
of every day life,  and how to transcend this suffering and so realise
spiritual Liberation.  So it is prominent in the religion. 

the religion presents it according to tradition,  and what is habitual
is not necessarily helpful.  So I have prepared a new presentation of
this famous sutta,  to properly bring out its full benefit for our
spiritual practice.  I examine each phrase in Pali,  and give
word-for-word translation.

satipaṭṭhāna (satipatthana)  means “foundation or focus of sati”,  or to “establish sati.”   sati is usually translated as “mindfulness,”  but this suggests filling our mind.  In fact,  an essential feature of sati  is to empty the mind of chatter and clutter,  empty the mind of the unnecessary and the un-helpful.  This leads to a better translation –

  • sati  can mean “look at”  or “observe” or “experience”.  Put our attention on it,  and be aware of it.
 satipaṭṭhāna sutta  (Satipatthana Sutta) describes several important things -
  • cattāro satipaṭṭhānā =  four foundations of mindfulness,
  • maggo visuddhiyā = a Path of Purification. The purpose of this Path is
  •  nibbānassa sacchi-kiriyāya  = make nirvāṇa real.
This is all in the first paragraph,  called udesso = Introduction or Summary.  
And most paragraphs begin with the phrase -
  • Idha, bhikkhave!   bhikkhu”  =  “Now listen here, disciples!  A disciple …”  and the instructions then follow.  
This is a discourse for those who have taken on the discipline of purification practice, and are striving to make nirvāṇa real.

I used the following reference.  It has both Pali and English in parallel.   
M 2.    Four Foci for Attentiveness.
satipaṭṭhāna sutta  (Satipatthana Sutta)  lists four levels of sati  = cattāro satipaṭṭhāna  :
  1. kāy-ānupassanā 
    or attentiveness to the body.  This is pain at it basics,  just
    sensations that are dull,  or heavy,  or tight,  or just uncomfortable.
  2. vedan-ānupassanā 
    or attentiveness to feelings.  This is the actual feeling of the
    defilement, be it resentment,  or fear,  or frustration,  or
    disappointment, or whatever.
  3. chitt-ānupassanā 
    or attentiveness to thoughts.  These are pain driven and pain filled
    thoughts that express and justify the defilements,  and are driven by
    the defilements.
  4. dhamm-ānupassanā    or attentiveness to liberation.   This is the way out of suffering.  
M 3.  Why Focus on Pain?
Why not focus on Liberation instead?   Isn’t Liberation more attractive than pain and suffering?
The problem is that we cannot access spiritual Liberation until we  :
  • know how to recognise pain after it has taken off and starting to control our will,
  • know how to identify defilements when they are active,  and
  • know how to detect pain in its first early stirrings,  and
  • know how to let go of both pain and defilement,  so they may dissolve,  dissipate and cease to trouble us.
We cannot even start moving towards Liberation until we have this know-how.    
suffering is not just the problem of life.   Suffering blocks our
access to Liberation.  When we are stuck in suffering,  then our
thought, speech and actions are (much) more likely to cause more pain, 
not resolve it.  This is the Law of Karma  :  thought, speech and action
(ie karma)  originating in suffering and driven by suffering will only cause more suffering to arise.  For ourselves and others. 
there is no point focussing our attention on a problem unless we know
how to solve it.  In fact,  we are more likely to avoid a difficulty
until we know the solution.  And indulging in harmful addictions is a
most common way of avoiding the issue.   In addition,  harmful
addictions (and crime) proliferate when conditions sabotage true
nurturing, or are oppressive, brutalising or degrading.
M 3.  ānupassanā = ānupassī.
So satipaṭṭhāna sutta  describes how we can solve this problem of suffering.   satipaṭṭhāna sutta  is all about  ānupassanā = ānupassī.  To properly understand  satipaṭṭhāna sutta,  we need to clearly understand this word.
  • ānupassanā = ānupassī   translates as “look at”  or “observe” or “experience”.  Put our attention on it,  and be aware of it.
  • ānu  translates as  :   “along, at, to, combined with”,
  • passati  translates as  :   “see, look”. 
In meditation practise (kāy-ānupassanā)  we observe (‘look at’) sensation;  image, sound, touch,  and we stay with the image sound or touch of breath or bodily movement.  We remain “along side
with sensation.  This is an essential strategy in meditation,  to shift
attention from thinking to sensing, and so restore some essential
stability and focus. 
In ‘mindfulness’ of feelings (vedan-ānupassanā),  we observe (‘look at’) the feeling of the defilement,  the feeling of being disappointed, frustrated, abandoned or whatever,  and we experience the painful feeing.  We allow our com-passion to ‘be with’
our own inner pain,  instead of just denying, concealing, avoiding our
problem. Instead of drowning out the painful feeling with noise,  either
external noise as loud music or internal mental noise such as
criticism, blame, resentment or justifications for our own pain.  We
play the role of the compassionate inner Mother,  and we go to and stay with our vulnerable inner child who is hurting and vulnerable, being supportive, caring and nurturing to ourselves. 
In mindfulness of thoughts (chitt-ānupassanā),  we observe
the painfilled and pain driven thoughts that have invaded our mind, 
and seek to hijack our will.  We do NOT join with this mental noise, 
but rather do our best to let go of the painful pain driven thoughts. 
 In a sense, we look at the painful thoughts, with clear comprehension.  Our observing is combined with detachment.
This etymology of just one word ānupassanā = ānupassī   demonstrates
the special value of sacred language,  that is reserved only for
spiritual guidance.  The closer we examine the words,  the more meaning
they can provide to our spiritual practice.    So let us focus attention
on the sacred language of  satipaṭṭhāna sutta,  and be aware of its dynamics for our spiritual practice.. 
For vedan-ānupassanā   and  chitt-ānupassanā 
the structure of this Sutta is simple.  The first main paragraph
discusses the details of that section.  The second paragraph could be
called the paragraph on “clear comprehension” =  sampajañña   (even though the word  sampajañña  does
not occur in this paragraph).  This same paragraph on “clear
comprehension” is repeated very many times,  with very little change, 
at the end of each subsection of the Sutta. 
The Satipatthana Sutta begins
with a succinct description of daily meditation training. Then it
describes in detail how we can direct our meditation or attentiveness = sati  to help us transcend suffering = nirvāṇa.
​Dear Reader.
This webpage discusses the Way to nirvāṇa = nibbānassa.
In the enlightened state = nibbāne,
our mind is still, focussed, clear, bright, and very happy to be like this.
Our mind is entirely free of all wanting and disturbance.
Such as wanting to know what comes next.
So please do not be driven nor tempted to rush thru this webpage,
anxious to “know” about the Way to nirvāṇa.
Be compassionate to yourself.
Take pause and reflect, to let the Dharma soak in.
Perhaps only one or two sections is enough for any one visit.
Best wishes from Mike.

satipaṭṭhā sutta.

Four Foundations of Mindfulness.

a new  word-for-word translation.

​M 4.   Preliminaries Needed for Meditation.
The first instructions of this Sutta is in the second paragraph of udesso = Introduction or Summary.  It advises us to –

  1. Overcome and set aside defilements = abhijjhā,  derived from abhi + jhāna  where abhi = against or attacking and  jhāna  = the purity of mind,  and
  2. overcome pain generated by the mind = domanassa,  derived from du + manas where du is short for dukkha = suffering  and manas  = mind.
  3. Cultivate sam-pa-jāno, where  sam =  perfection of,  pañña = wisdom,  jānati  = know,  ie know what is in our mindand 
  4. be aware of (satimā) where our mind is heading.
clearly remembering Ajahn Brahm emphasising this point during my
monastery training,  20 years ago.   It means to overcome suffering and
defilements,  as an essential first step.   In other words,  some
clarity and stability of mind is needed,  before we can do satipatthana practice. 
means that most of what I offer in the Introduction Chapter of
Spiritual Practice about mindfulness are actually preliminaries that
need to be done before we can do satipatthana practice.  This write-up on the Satipatthana Sutta used to be at the end of that Introduction Chapter.  

1.  Mindfulness of the Body = kāy-ānupassanā  

M 5.  Meditation on the Breath = Ānāpāna.
The Sutta first describes the basics of sitting meditation.  First we need to “go to a secluded place” (suññā-gāra-gato),  where suñña  means
“empty of disturbance.”   We need quiet for meditation,  and in former
times before the great forests were destroyed,  this was achieved by
“going to forest and” (arañña-gato vā)  “going to a tree root” (rukkha-mūla-gato).  
(mūla = root or origin; ie where the tree comes out of the ground.)

this is normally not available in modern urban life,  so we need
somewhere secluded from loud, disruptive noise, and intelligible
conversation.  Closing our eyes in a crowded train or bus can actually
be a good place to meditate, when our stop is some way ahead.  And our
own room can also be quiet at certain times, quiet enough for
meditation.  Negotiation with other household members might be needed to
achieve this. 
We also need to be properly seated for meditation, and in former times this meant “sit down with legs bent” (nisīdati pallaṅkaṃ ābhu-jitvā). 
But the modern Westerner has been seated on chairs since childhood, 
which sabotages our ability to be naturally comfortable sitting cross
legged on the ground.  So our sitting posture (āsanam) needs to be comfortable (sukham) and stable (sthiram) with upright body (ujuṃ kāyaṃ),  however we are seated. 
The Sutta then describes breath meditation.  Ānā-pāna  means “in-out breath”.    

assa-santo                ‘assa-sāmī’               ti pajā-nāti,
breathing in             ‘breathing in’           know,
When breathing in, know “I am breathing in”,
passa-santo             ‘passa-sāmī’            ti pajā-nāti.        
breathing out          ‘breathing out’        know.
When breathing out, know “I am breathing out”.
‘Sabba     kaya    paṭi         saṃvedī        assa-sissāmī’           ti sikkhati,
whole      body    feel          breath           breathe in                 train
Train yourself to feel the whole breath body (the whole breath cycle) when breathing in.  And likewise for breathing out. 
The Sutta is advising us to –

kāye               kāy-    ānupassī       viharati
in body          body  observe         dwell
Dwell observing the body in the body. 
This section is about ānāpāna = in-out breathing, so kāya can mean the “body of the breath”.   So this phrase can mean –
  • Observe the breath in the breath, and
  • Make this your abiding or dwelling place.
This is best understood to mean to really engage with the sensation
of the breath,  instead of just thinking.  Using the sensation of the
breath to anchor our attention,  to prevent the mind wandering in
Thus our Sutta has succinctly described the foundations of regular meditation training, in the following steps –
  1. Be seated in a secluded place (away from intelligible conversation)
  2. Pay full attention to the breath,
  3. throughout the full breath cycle.
  4. Observe the sensation of the breath, 
  5. instead of wandering in thought.
  6. Train yourself in this meditation,  and
  7. Remain or dwell in the meditation.
M 6.  Meditation Throughout the Day.
Our Sutta now extends these themes beyond sitting breath meditation,  into other times of the meditation retreat.  
gacchanto vā     ‘gacchāmī’    ti pajā-nāti,                   
walking               ‘walking’           know
When walking, know  “I am walking”.
This is repeated for standing, sitting and lying down,  the “four postures” of the body, in Buddhism. 
abhik-kante             paṭik-kante     sam-    pajāna-       kārī            hoti,                
going forward         coming back    fully      attend to    continually
When going out and coming back,  attend to the movement fully and continually.
sampajānakārī  is a more advanced than pajānāti   that is used to describe sitting breath meditation.  sam-pajāna-kārī  is fully developed and continual. 
The expression sampajānakārī hoti 
is repeated seven times,   for everyday activity,  like looking,
bending and stretching, eating and drinking,  calls of Nature, speaking
or maintaining silence.  By chanting these repetitions of our Sutta as a
meditation,  it emphasises the need to –
is most important on a residential, silent, meditation retreat. 
Although we may have three or four group sitting meditation sessions per
day,  it is very important to continue the meditation throughout the
day and evening,  from day to day of the retreat,  which might be nine
days long.

This will help
to keep the mind focussed, quiet, alert,  so that the joy and clarity of
inner peace may flourish.  It creates the ideal opportunity to
cultivate contentment, appreciation, good will, enjoyment, determination
and many other beautiful spiritual Qualities.  It helps to avoid back
sliding into mental busy-ness and noise.  It helps to prevent
criticisms, despair, disinterest, derision and a host of other
defilements from proliferating, and thus spoiling our experience of
life.   More on this in dhamm-ānupassanā.

M 6.   Inhabiting the Body (kāye). 
kāye               ānupassī       viharati
in body          focus on        dwell
Focus on dwelling in the body.  Focus on “inhabiting the body”.  Make this your dwelling or abiding place.
important expression is repeated very many times in the Sutta.  For
“inhabiting the body” is an important meditation,  and one we can
practise during the day, to stabilise and quieten the mind,  and restore
some Presence.  In this,  we consciously and purposefully focus our
attention on the movement of the body,  and the sensations of movement, 
be it at the joints, back, touch at feet, wherever.  Or the movement of
the tool or implement we are using.  .  Ordinary familiar tasks like
walking and other exercise, cleaning and putting things away are an
excellent opportunity to practise “inhabiting the body.”
This is
a strategy to shift attention from thinking and from endless wandering
in thought.  We are shifting from thinking to sensing.  In this, we use
the senses and sense impressions,  mostly touch,  as a skilful way to
move towards Liberation.
Thus being in the body (kāye) is an excellent dwelling or abiding place (viharati)  for us. It is very grounding.  

more could be said, and has been written, on how to make daily
meditation training successful,  so we may become adepts.  I have
published my Course in Meditation on this website.  This is a series of
talks exploring other themes that can help with our regular meditation
But our Sutta will explore other themes instead.  

​2.  Mindfulness of Feelings = vedan-ānupassanā  

After the revolting and morbid sections of this Sutta,  we come to vedan-ānupassanā.   This is commonly translated as “Mindfulness of feelings.”  But let us examine the pāḷi  more closely. 
  • passati  means “look at, observe”   and   ānu  means “with”
So ānu-passanā  =  ānu-passī  is best understood to mean “observe with detachment”,  “observe with objectivity.”
vedanā  is best understood to mean the painful feelings of defilements.  How resentment,  or fear,  or frustration actually feels.  As opposed to pain driven and pain filled thoughts,  which are discussed in  chitt-ānupassanā.

vedano          vedaya-        māne,           
feeling           felt                  in mind,

‘vedanaṃ           vedayāmī’                jānāti                               paññena 
 feeling              is experienced”       know & discern          with wisdom
When feeling is felt in heart and mind,  then know and discern :
“There is feeling, and it is being experienced”.  Know this with wisdom

two phrases are repeated 3 x 3 = 9 times.  First for the pleasant, then
the unpleasant, then the neither pleasant nor pleasant.  Then it
repeats these three,  with attachment,  then without attachment.  Our
Sutta is advising us, thru the multiple repetition of chanting, to –

  • feel defilement while it is happening,  and to
  • know and discern that “I am feeling it”,  and to
  • know this with wisdom.
is best understood to mean  :   do not ignore painful feeling  : do not
allow something else to drown it out,  such as pain filled and pain
driven thought.  And  :  use our wisdom in this.  Such harmful thinking
will only perpetuate the pain,  and obscure the bare feelings in a
smokescreen of mental noise.   Nor do we need to resort to harmful
addictions,  just because painful feelings are active.
When we
are able to simply feel the feelings,  uncomplicated by pain driven and
pain filled thought, then we are no longer fuelling the fires of
suffering.  Instead,  we are removing much of the heat.  And when we can
achieve this important Goal in spiritual practice, then it is
remarkable how quickly the pain dissolves,  and ceases to trouble us.

But to achieve this,  our mind needs to be clear and stable
and not invaded by painful thinking.  This is the first point that our
Sutta emphasises.   Indeed,  it could be said that the main purpose of
meditation is to train the mind to let go of thought,  let go of all
thought, no matter how insistent and persistent those thoughts may be. 
For this reason,  our Sutta first describes the basics of meditation
training,  under kay-ānupassanā.  We need this training to be able to let go of defilement,  which is stated in dhamm-ānupassanā.   

paragraph on “clear comprehension” comes next in the Sutta.  It
discusses this matter further.  This same paragraph is repeated, with
minimal difference,  after every subsection of the Sutta.   The first
sentence on “clear comprehension”  uses the following expression -
vedanāsu **     vedanā      ānu-passī            viharati
feelings                 felt           observe,            dwell, abide
                                            with detachment

the feelings that are felt, with detachment.  (Or observe the feeling
in the feelings, with detachment).   Abide in this.  
 Our Sutta is advising us to -
  • “observe the feelings that we actually feel, with detachment”,  and -
  • make this experience our abiding or dwelling place. 

This is best understood to mean feel
the defilement.  Instead of thinking about whatever has upset us, 
instead of explaining why we are upset, or even justifying the hurt.
achieve this,  we need some sense of objectivity towards the painful
feelings,  instead of just being swept into the realm of emotional
disturbance.  The third sentence on “clear comprehension”  uses the
following term -
ñāṇa        mattāya         paṭis-sati                mattāya  
know     bare of              be attentive          bare of
              attachment                                       attachment
  • have bare knowing and bare attentiveness of feeling 
this,  I mean to know the feeling and be attentive to the feeling, bare
of any emotional disturbance.   To know and attend to the painful
feelings when they are uncomplicated by pain driven and pain filled
thought.  In a sense,  to know and attend to the painful feeling bare of any painful thought

mattā =  little or none, so therefore mattāya  literally means “with little or none as our objective or purpose.”  This gives another translation  -

  • know and attend to the pain with the intention of being minimally disturbed by it.

help us in this challenging task,  we can focus on the arising and
dissolution of the pain.   Instead of just wallowing in it.  So the
second sentence on “clear comprehension”  advises us to focus on the
impermanence of these feelings.  It advises us to –
  • focus on the arising and dissolution of feelings.  
we can recognise that the pain will pass.   And it will dissolve sooner
if we stop fuelling the fires,  and let go of painfilled and pain
driven thought.  This important point is repeated, in slightly different
forms,  very many times throughout our Sutta.  The second sentence on
“clear comprehension” is actually worded thus –
samudaya    dhamma       ānupassī       vā vedanāsu
arising            dharma of    attend to      of feelings
Attend to the Dharma of the arising of painful feelings.
this,  I mean the forces that cause painful feelings to proliferate and
invade our mind.  Such painful feelings are provoked by pain driven and
pain filled thoughts,  which are discussed in chitt-ānupassanā.
 Similarly,  these painful feelings will subside when the painful
thoughts subside.  So this second sentence on “clear comprehension” also
includes the following phrase -
vaya                 dhamma         ānupassī      vā vedanāsu
dissolving       dharma of      attend to      of feelings
Attend to the Dharma of the dissolving of painful feeling. 

pain will still arise in the mind even when it is trained to let go of
the unhelpful,  even when it is free of pain driven and pain filled
thought.   In this situation,  the painful feeling might not be the pain
of resentment, fear, frustration, betrayal or any clearly defined
defilement.  The pain can manifest as bodily feelings of dullness and
heaviness, lack of energy, as depression of body rather than depressing

Then our objective is to simply know (jānāti) the painful sensation with wisdom (paññā).  To know (ñāṇa) the heavy sensation,  with intention of being minimally disturbed by the feeling (mattāya).  To be conscious of (ānupassī)  the dharma of the arising of this pain (dhamma samudaya); 
ie to know what we have done recently that has made this pain worse
instead of better.  It might have been attitudes, judgements,
decisions.  It might have been something we said or did to others.  And
with this wise reflection,  we can know what to do NOW, which will be a
little more sensible.  

kind of suffering often arises when the people and pursuits of our
lives fail us badly, have been most disappointing, and we are afflicted
with a strong feeling of being wounded.   jānāti  then means to know what the wounding is,  and ñāṇa mattāya  means to know about the wounding,  with intention of being minimally affected by it.  And paññena   means
to use wisdom to seek healing,  that will be most effective for us.  We
can also bear in mind the concluding verse, as follows …  

The third sentence on “clear comprehension”  concludes thus –
ca viharati   na        kiñci               loke  *^                     upādiyati.
and dwell    not       any (pain)     in this area               cling to

  • Cling not to any pain of any kind, 
  • and make this your dwelling or abiding place.
Translational Notes for vedan-ānupassanā
pa-jānāti  is short for paññā jānāti,  where paññā  = wisdom,   jānāti  = know. 
*^  loke  = in this area.  This refers to the area of vedanā  = feelings.  In this context,  loke  is best translated as  :   “of any kind”. 
**  vedanāsu  is the locative form of the noun vedanā,  and means “in feelings.”

M 6 a.  viharati = Our True Home,  as Spiritual Practitioners.
viharati  comes from the original Sanskrit vihārin =  travel,  move about.  In the Buddha’s time,  his advanced disciples or bhikkhu  actually left their original homes and lived in small groups or sagha,  who just camped in the great forests between the villages.  In these sagha,  they could practise far more meditation and simplicity of life than in their previous occupations.  They were committed to maggo visuddhiyā  = path of purification,  and were striving to make nirvāṇreal = nibbānassa sacchi-kiriyāya,  as in the first paragraph entitled udesso =  introduction or summary. 
advanced disciples were dependent on alms given by people who worked in
the villages, exchanging spiritual gifts for material, according to
ancient Indian custom.  As a result,  they wandered = vihārin in
the forest, wandering from village to village, partly to prevent
draining local resources too much.  Also to meet new people, and learn
from them.
These forests where they wandered became their dwelling place, or vihāra.  They were a dwelling place (vihāra)  that became sanctified from the energy of their spiritual practise.  Thus vihāra  also means “sacred place,”  or “sacred space.”   vihāra  also occurs in the mantra Jai Radha Mahava,  on this website.
However,  the word used in our Sutta is actually viharati,  where harati =  gather together, collect,  attain or acquire.  So viharati  also
has the meaning of gathering together, developing and acquiring our
spiritual qualities,  and valuing them.  It also means gathering
together with like minded people to practise meditation together, and
support each other.  sagha  also means a group or comm-unity,  of people living together (com) in harmony (unity). 
The word viharati  is
repeated 8 times in the paragraph on clear comprehension.   It
concludes each sentence.  And this paragraph is repeated some 20 times
in our sutta.  Thus viharati  is not only repeated some 150 times in our sutta,  it also has multiple meanings.  And all of these meanings are important to our spiritual practice. 
Through multiple repetitions,  the Buddha is reminding his advanced disciples or bhikkhu
about what their true home actually is.  Rather than regard the actual
building we live in,  let us make our spiritual practice our real home =


​3.  Mindfulness of Thoughts (and State of Mind) 
= chitt-ānupassanā  

​In this context, chitta = citta  means either thoughts or the state of our mind and consciousness.  Our Sutta first discusses chitta
as thoughts,  which includes pain driven and pain filled thoughts, 
that come from defilement,  express defilement, feed defilement and even
justify defilement.  And the opposite kind of thought.  Then our Sutta
discusses chitta as the state of our mind or consciousness. 
Including the mind or consciousness that is invaded by defilement,  that
breeds defilement, and is controlled by defilement.  And the opposite
sa-                  rāgaṃ           vā  cittaṃ
present          defiled           thought,
When defiled thought is present,  (then)
‘sa-                 rāgaṃ           cittaṃ’           ti pa-jānāti,
‘present        defiled           thought         know and discern,
                                                                        with wisdom
Know and discern :  “defiled thought is present’.  Know this with wisdom.
vīta-               rāgaṃ           vā cittaṃ
absent           defiled           thought,
When defiled thought is absent,  (then)
‘vīta-              rāgaṃ           cittaṃ’           ti pa-jānāti
‘absent          defiled           thought’        know and discern,
                                                                        with wisdom
know and discern : ‘defiled thought is absent’.  Know this with wisdom.
It repeats this same formula for two other words for defilement :  dosaṃ and mohaṃ *.    Essentially,  our Sutta advises us–
we come to the primary challenge to purification practice : 
defilements that have proliferated in our mind.  They invade our mind by
sabotaging our ability to know and discern (jānāti)  that they have invaded.  As they proliferate,  they obscure our  jānāti
If we could clearly see them and perceive the harm they are causing,
then we would take immediate action to expel them and restore the
peace.  So the expression “‘sa rāgaṃ  cittaṃ’ :  jānāti  =  know that defiled thoughts have invaded”  is something of a contradiction.
So Buddha uses a different word :  pa-jānāti = paññā  (wisdom) + jānāti  (know, discern)We
use our wisdom.  Yes,  they have taken control,  but we will wise up to
them and use whatever skills we have to free ourselves from them.  So citt-ānupassanā   includes many more suggestions that might help us in this important endeavour.  
saṅ-khittaṃ vā        cittaṃ,          
stability      with      mind,            
‘saṅ-khittaṃ            cittaṃ’ ti       pajānāti
‘stabilised                 mind’             know, discern
                                                            with wisdom           
When the mind is stable,  know and discern ‘the mind is stabilised’.  Know this with wisdom (paññā).
vik-khittaṃ vā         cittaṃ           
instability   with      mind             
‘vik-khittaṃ             cittaṃ’ ti       pajānāti,
‘destabilised             mind’             know, discern
                                                            with wisdom
When the mind is destabilised,  know and discern “the mind is destabilised”.  Know this with wisdom (paññā).

repeats this same formula for the expanded and un-expanded mind,  the
surpassed and the unsurpassed mind,  the concentrated and the
unconcentrated mind,  the liberated and the unliberated mind. 
Essentially,  our Sutta advises us to -
  • Know and understand your state of mind or consciousness = chitta
  • Know when your mind is stable,  and when it’s destabilised and therefore unreliable.
paragraph on “clear comprehension”  then follows, and discusses this
matter further.  The first sentence on “clear comprehension”  uses the
following expression  –
citte                citt-                 ānupassī       viharati,
in mind          thought         observe         dwells
“Dwell observing thoughts in mind” 
is easier said than done.  It certainly cannot be done when compulsive
thin-king  has resumed control of our mind.  So the second sentence on
“clear comprehension”  advises us to –
samudaya    dhamm-        ānupassī       vā cittasmiṃ            viharati,
arising            Dharma         attend to      thoughts in mind    dwell,
Dwell attending to the Dharma of the arising of thought in the mind,  
vaya               dhamm-        ānupassī       vā cittasmiṃ            viharati.
dissolving      dharma         attend to      thoughts in mind    dwell.
Dwell attending to the Dharma of the dissolving of thought in the mind.
Our Sutta is advising us to –
  • Be aware of how thoughts turn into endless thought trains,  and
  • Create and enlarge the gaps between thought trains,  and
  • Practise letting go of thought in your mind. 
  • Make this your dwelling or abiding place. 
importantly,  our Sutta is advising us to be conscious and observant of
the Dharma of the arising of pain in the mind.  Of the consequences of
making decisions while the mind is invaded by defilement,  breeding
defilement, and controlled by defilement.  And of the value of postponing all decisions until our poor pain afflicted mind has recovered from its assailments,  and ready to start afresh.  

In addition,  the third sentence on “clear comprehension”  uses the following expression –
ñāṇa        mattāya         paṭis-sati                mattāya 
know     bare of              be attentive          bare of
              attachment                                       attachment

  • have bare knowing and bare attentiveness to thoughts 
this,  I mean knowing and attending to the thoughts present,  without
getting caught up in the thoughts,  and entangled in them.  In a sense, 
to know and attend to the thoughts in the mind  bare of any attachment  to them.  This is best achieved with the technique “noting and naming thoughts”.  


M 7. Noting and Naming Thoughts.
Mindfulness of thoughts is an excellent meditation practice,  better known as “noting and labelling thoughts.”  And  jānāti  has additional meaning.  jānāti  can also mean “note and name thoughts”,  “note and name state of mind”.
this,  we give a label or name to the thought train that just ended.  A
short but accurate label.  This is something like using the word
“computer” to give a simple name to something very complex,  with many
features.   The purpose is to create some objectivity towards the
thought train,  very soon after it ended.  Help us let go of it,  not
identify with it. Most importantly,  to stop fuelling and strengthening
the thought train.  And thus move from busy-ness to refreshing and
rejuvenating inner stillness and silence.
Let us revisit the Pali for chitt-ānupassanā,  and re-translate jānāti  as “note, name.”  Then we get the following for noting and naming thoughts -
sa-                  rāgaṃ           vā  cittaṃ
present          defiled           thought,
When defiled thought is present,  (then)
rāgaṃ           cittaṃ            paññāya              jānāti,
defiled           thought         using wisdom    note, name
“When defiled thought is present,  then note and name the defiled thought using wisdom.”
For noting and naming the state of mind, we get the following -
vikkhittaṃ vā                      a-vimuttaṃ vā                    cittaṃ,
scattered, distracted           not freed                            mind,
When the mind is distracted and fettered, then …
vikkhittaṃ         a-vimuttaṃ vā          paññāya           jānāti,
distraction       fetter, hindrance      with wisdom    note, name
the mind is scattered or fettered,  then note and name the distraction,
note and name the fetter or hindrance using wisdom.”
Note that
the thought has to end before we can be “mindful”  of it.   Either we
are being “mindful”   and Present,  or we are following the old habits
of thinking.   And we need to stop the mental noise before we can be
“mindful” of our state of mind.  

This shows the difficulty of this English word “mindfulness”  to translate sati or ānupassanā = ānupassī
.   One of the most important aspects of this so called “mindfulness” 
is to empty the mind of unnecessary and unhelpful thought.   Often we
need a better word instead of “mindfulness”,  such as   “consciousness” 
or “attentiveness”.
Whatever translation we use for sati
the purpose of Noting and Naming Thoughts is to help us let go of
thoughts,  no matter how insistent and persistent they may be.  Thus the
third sentence on “clear comprehension” concludes with -
ca viharati   na        kiñci               loke                            upādiyati.
and dwell    not       any (pain)     in this area               cling to
  • Cling not to any pain of any kind, 
  • and make this your dwelling or abiding place.
Translational Notes for citt-ānupassanā.
rāga moha dosa  literally
mean  :  “greed, hate, delusion”.  However,  there are many more
defilements than just these three;  many defilements are un-related to
these three.  So  rāga moha dosa  is best translated with a more general word like “defilement.”

​4.  Mindfulness of the Dharma or Spiritual Qualities
 = dhamm-ānupassanā.

​Our Sutta
then goes onto mindfulness of the Dharma.   Five different groups of
Buddhist doctrine are listed.  One group is about the Factors of
Enlightenment,  also called Elements of Awakening.  These are called  bojjhaṅga in Pali   and bodhyaṅga in Sanskrit.  In our Sutta,  this appears as sam-bojjhaṅga  which means fully developed bojjhaṅga. 
On this website,  the bodhyanga  are
called the “spiritual Qualities,” such as contentment, determination, 
clarity,  friendship, enjoyment, healing,  appreciation, good will, 
upliftment, integrity.    Cultivating, practising and protecting these
beautiful Qualities is the Heart of the spiritual Path,  and I am always
writing about this basic theme in purification practice.  For the
spiritual Qualities are what is important in life.   The Pali reads thus
asantaṃ vā     ajjhattaṃ      sam-bojjhaṅgaṃ                        1
not exist          inwardly        spiritual Quality              
when the spiritual Qualities do not exist in our heart.
santaṃ vā        ajjhattaṃ     sam-bojjhaṅgaṃ                         2
exists                inwardly       spiritual Quality   
when the spiritual Qualities do exist in our heart.
anuppannassa        sam-bojjhaṅgassa    uppādo                  3
non arisen                spiritual Quality         arises                     
how the spiritual Qualities arise in our heart.
uppannassa     sam-bojjhaṅgassa     bhāvanāya     pāripūrī  *   4
arisen                 spiritual Quality         cultivate        practise
                                                                                           & protect.
how the spiritual Qualities are cultivated, practised & protected.
Buddha is advising us to know (jānāti) –
  1. when the spiritual Qualities do not exist in our heart, and
  2. when the spiritual Qualities do exist in our heart, and
  3. how to help the spiritual Qualities arise in our heart, and
  4. how to cultivate the spiritual Qualities , how to practise and protect them.

Know this and do this in the Now.  More importantly,  use wisdom (paññā)  in this.  

We also need to know with wisdom (pa-jānāti) –
     5.  what causes the spiritual Qualities to deteriorate and disintegrate  (sorry, no Pali for this one!)  

bhāvanā  = cultivation (a noun).  Thus uppannassa  bhāvanāya =  arising generated by cultivation (genitive) or arising due to cultivation (instrumental). 
* pāri-pūrī  literally means “further, further”.  Thus  bhāvanāya pāri-pūrī  suggests
generated by cultivation to the fullest extent.  In other words,
cultivated and practised to perfection,  or cultivated until safe from

By tradition, Buddhism uses only seven words for the bojjhaṅga  - 
sati                 dhamma-vicaya                 vīriya              pīti       
awareness    investigate Dharma          energy           joy
passaddhi                 samādhi                    upekkhā
tranquillity               meditative                equanimity
there are many more spiritual Qualities beyond these.  Chapter B of my
treatise on Spiritual Practice,  section B 1,  gives a comprehensive
list of these important Qualities.   
The word sam-bojjhaṅga  = spiritual Qualities   is repeated (in different grammatical forms) 6 x 7 = 42 times in our Sutta.    The word  pa-jānāti  =  paññā (wisdom)  +  jānāti  (know and discern)  appears 4 x 7 = 28 times in this section on the bojjhaṅga-pabbaṃ.  When our Sutta is recited as a chanting meditation,  these many repetitions help to emphasise –

  • the importance of the spiritual Qualities (bojjhaṅga),  and
  • the importance of knowing (jānāti)  how to cultivate, practise and protect them,
  • wherever we can,  whenever we can, with whomever we can,  as best we can. 
This does need some wisdom (paññā),  for all sorts of difficulties and obstacles can arise in this important endeavour.  Wisdom (paññā) will help illuminate the Path for us.   
Our Sutta talks about the hindrances, or defilements,  using the Pali word nīvaraṇa   (This is NOT the Sanskrit word nirvāṇa
!)  These include fear,  resentment, shame, feeling betrayed,
manipulation, hate, grief, despair,  confusion, disrespect, addictions,
rage, agitation  and many more such troubles.  By tradition, Buddhism
uses only five words for the nīvaraṇa   : 
kāma-chanda           byāpāda      thina-middha  
sense desire            aversion        sloth-torpor        
uddhacca-kukkucca          vicikiccha
agitation-worry                  doubt
there are many more defilements beyond these, and my treatise on
Spiritual Practice, Introduction Chapter A,  section A 3,  gives a
comprehensive list of defilements.  
Our Sutta advises us to –

  • know when defilement  is active in us, and
  • know how defilement arise, and
  • know how to let go and transcend defilement  ,  and
  • know how to avoid them in future. 

Know this, do this in the Now!  With wisdom.  

Again,  the word  pajānāti  =  “know”  appears 5 x 5 = 25 times in this section.
we come to the heart of the spiritual Path.  Cultivating the spiritual
Qualities,  and letting go of defilements.  All of the preceding
sections of our Sutta are really describing the preliminaries needed for
such cultivation and letting go.  All of my Introduction Chapter of
Spiritual Practice is really describing the preliminaries needed before
we can begin satipatthana practice.   And my website discusses many other themes that can help in this important endeavour. 
Each of the 4 sections of the dhamm-ānupassanā    concludes by repeating six times the expression  -
dhammesu   dhamma       ānupassī       viharati
in Dharma    Dharma         attend to       dwell
“Dwell observing the Dharma in the Dharma” 

  • “Be aware of the essence of the Dharma, and
  •  Make this your abiding or dwelling place.”
this, I mean to attend to the Dharma itself,  as a liberating
experience.  Instead of just entertaining opinions about the Dharma. 

M 8.   pajānāti  and ānupassī

These two Pāli words are of central importance in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta. 
pajānāti   occurs in the main paragraph(s) for each of four main sections :  kāy-ānupassanāvedan-ānupassanācitt-ānupassanā,  dhamm-ānupassanā.  So it occurs some 130 times in the Sutta.
pajānāti  is the result of the intensification of the verb jānāti (he or she knows) by the addition of the prefix pa-, from paññā (wisdom).
ānupassī  occurs 6 times in the paragraph on “clear comprehension”,  and thus occurs 160 times in the Sutta.

numerous repetitions of these two words helps to emphasise their
importance in purification practice,  when the Sutta is recited.  Should
this Sutta appeal to you,  and is helpful,  you may wish to recite
passages from it as a special kind of meditation.  This is thoroughly

  • pajānāti   can mean – know,  discern, fully know, properly understand, clearly comprehend.
  •  ānupassī  =  can mean -  “look at”  or “observe” or “experience”.  Put our attention on it,  and be aware of it.
ānupassanā  =  ānupassī.   But the word ānupassanā  only occurs in the titles of the four main section.

​The Need for New Translation

of satipaṭṭhāna sutta.

Like all scriptures, satipaṭṭhā sutta  is
presented according to tradition, and what is habitual is not
necessarily helpful.  This webpage seeks to address these issues.
traditional form of this scripture is very long, and this alone makes
it cumbersome and hard-to-manage.  It is 9,400 words long,  Pali plus
English.  This is Majjhima Nikaya 10,  ie the tenth discourse of the
collection (nikāya) of the Middle Length Sayings (majjhima)  of the Buddha.  There is a yet greater version, the Maha Satipatthana Sutta.  This is Digha Nikaya
22  (Longer Discourses). This has yet another 7,200 words (Pali plus
English) of foundational doctrine added at the end of the same sutta,
totalling 16,600 words.  However,  the useful sections total only about
1,500 words.
For this Sutta is full of repetitions.  These
repetitions help to memorise the Sutta in oral tradition, and emphasise
important points.  Such scriptures were recited by the monks as a
religious tradition. 
But in these modern times,  these
repetitions encumber the Sutta, making it very awkward,  to the point of
being incomprehensible.  Enough to put many people off.  And important
words get lost in the endless verbiage.  
More importantly, 
these repetitions distort the meaning of the Sutta.  These repetitions
giving a misleading emphasis on what is important in mindfulness of the
breath,  feelings and thoughts.  The Sutta seems to be telling us to
note –

  • the length of the breath,
  • whether our feelings are pleasant, unpleasant or neutral,  and
  • whether or not greed, hate and delusion are present in our thinking.
addition,  most of the first section about mindfulness of the body is
literally morbid and repulsive.  This can also put off many readers. 
Other parts are simply unhelpful or unnecessary.  Perhaps they’re
included just to create repetitions.
So it’s important to be selective when we (try to) make use of a scripture like this one.  

It’s also important that the Sutta provide maximum benefit for purification practice,  and to realise Nirvana,  as specified in udesso
= Introduction or Summary.  Scriptures like this one have been used for
religious purposes for countless generations,  to support prescribed
doctrines and beliefs.   And things are not all well in the religion as
traditionally practised in the home continent.  This inevitably results
in unhelpful traditional presentation and translation of scripture.  I
discuss this problem in my webpage “Broken Buddhism”.

consequence for myself is this.  Although I have been quite familiar
with the Satipatthana Sutta for 35 years,  since I first studied it in
1985,  I have found it useful in my daily life for only one year,  since I prepared this new translation.  

I offer this new translation that works for me.  I hope it works for
you too.  For these famous scriptures can also be applied to daily life,
outside the religion and independent of its traditional limitations. 
Some adaption is then called for.  

I have selected and adapted from the version on –     If you search this version,  you can find the Pali passages that I have selected.

sets out the Pali in large blocks or paragraphs,  as it is
traditionally recited, with English side by side.   But each block is
broken into small portions with commas, full stops and speaking marks. 
This allows us to connect each Pali portion to its corresponding English
portion.  We don’t have to laboriously look up each word in the
It also displays the title of each section clearly,  in Pali and English.

 I used everything useful that I could find,  and omitted the repetitions. 
those passages that I selected,  I provide the full text on my other
webpage “Satipatthana Sutta Selections”,  nested behind this page.   For
your reference. 
M 9.   Paragraphs Used.
Maha Satipatthana Sutta = Digha Nikaya 22,   has some 105 main
paragraphs,  not including short paragraphs.  I used the following main
paragraphs for my discussion -
Section                                                         Paragraphs Used.
Udesso = Introduction or Summary.                 2 of 2.
1.  Kāya  = Body.  This has 6 subsections -
     Ānāpāna = Respiration                                    2 of 3
     Iriyāpatha = Postures                                      1 of 2
     Sampajāna = Bodily movement                   1 of 2
     Paṭi-kūla-manasikāra  = The Revolting
     +  Dhātu-manasikāra = The Elements
       + Nava-sivathika =  The Morbid                 0 of 26
2.  Vedana = Feelings                                            2 of 2
3.  Citta = Thoughts and Mind                            2 of 2
4.  Dhamma = Dharma.  This has 9 subsections -
         Nīvaraṇa  =  Defilements                            1 of 6
        Khandha = Aggregates                                 0 of 2
        Āyatana = Sense Doors                                0 of 7
        Bojjhaṅga = Spiritual Qualities                   1 of 8
        Sacca = Noble Truths                                    0 of 53
Satipaṭṭhāna ānisaṃso = results of Satipatthana    0 of 5
those twelve paragraphs that I use,  I use either a small or a large
part of that paragraph.  Five of the six paragraphs on the defilements
are all the same.  Only the name for defilement changes from paragraph
to paragraph.  Likewise for seven of the eight paragraphs on the
spiritual Qualities.
For each of the eight subsections that I use (except for udesso), 
one of the paragraphs is always the same paragraph  :   the paragraph
on “clear comprehension”.  I use more or less of the “clear
comprehension”, depending on the subsection I am discussing.
include everything in this Sutta that will enhance my discussion on
satipatthana practice.    I leave out any material that is superfluous, 
unnecessary or unhelpful for my discussion, and leave such material on
the other websites.  I publish the repetitions on my other webpage
“Satipatthana Sutta Selections,”  nested behind this webpage.
discussion on this webpage is about Satipatthana, not the Four Noble
Truths of Buddhism.  I discuss those Truths in my chapter on Desire.  
So I did not use any the 53 paragraphs on this topic in this Sutta. 
Note, the Satipatthana Sutta = Majjhima Nikaya 10, has only 2
paragraphs, not 53,   on these Truths. 
I discuss the “aggregates” and the sense doors on my webpage on the Heart Sutra.
I will pass over the revolting and the morbid sections of this Sutta without comment.

Eric Harrison’s Approach to Satipatthana Sutta.
Harrison is a very famous meditation teacher in Australia, now retired,
  having taught over ten thousand people to meditate.   I first met him
at the Buddhist Monastery in 1988, and I spent my first night in Perth
as guest in his Subiaco home.  I have fond memories of Eric,  for I
sometimes met him in the local shopping center of Subiaco, Perth,  in
the 1990’s,  and his talk and personality was always valuable to
encounter.  This was before he became famous,  but after he had become
successful as a meditation teacher.  He had been trained in Buddhist
meditation in the 1970’s and 1980’s,  but had turned away from the
religion by the mid 2010’s,  perhaps because of the politics of the
religion, especially in Perth.   
Eric speaks very highly of the
Satipatthana Sutta.  He describes it as “the basis for my personal
practice and my career as a meditation teacher,  since 1975.”  In those
days, the only version available was provided by the Pali Text Society
in the 1900’s and 1910’s.  This has no Pali.  Eric simply translated the
PTS Victorian English to ‘workable’ English,  and condensed the
Even this limited English-only form of the Sutta
has its value,  and you might like to read his version, available
on-line as “The Foundations of Mindfulness.”   But it cannot reveal the
full value of this Sutta.  We need to go deep into the original Pali, 
and use the dictionary. 
But the on-line word-for-word
translation and the on-line dictionary I used dates from the mid 2010’s.
 Eric retired from daily teaching of meditation in the late 2010’s,
 having reached his mid sixties.  The only version available to Eric was
the version with no Pali. 

Discussion on this page is
Copyright © 2021 by Mike Browning.  But scriptural quotes come from
ancient tradition,  belong to no one person,  and  Copyright © cannot be
claimed for them.  This applied also to their translation into other
You are permitted and
encouraged to copy from this webpage,  and use as you see fit,  provided
it is not harmful to mantra-translate.

For more new translations, word-for-word, of famous scriptures,
go to menu at top of the webpage,  and click onto the button “Scriptures”
and click onto the + button next to this.

Mahāsatipaṭṭhānasuttaṃ (Pali) - 1 Uddeso

The Satipatthana Sutta - Reflecting On Vedana (with translation in Hindi)

The Satipatthana Sutta - Reflecting On Vedana (with translation in Hindi)
by Subhuti (2009)
his fifth talk on the Satipatthana Sutta Subhuti speaks about
reflecting on vedana (feeling). A key area of exploration is the
Buddha’s categorisation of experience into pleasant/painful and neutral
experience - and either worldly or unworldly. So we need to cultivate
unworldly or spiritual vedana of all kinds, especially positive ones,
this is what will give us energy to pursue the spiritual life.
Free Buddhist Audio
Free Buddhist Audio
The Satipatthana Sutta - Reflecting On Vedana By Subhuti

That’s because Patanjali was Buddhist Patañjalino yogasuttaṃ
Write about Patanjali Mindful Meditation in 139 classical languages.
religions throughout the world must propagate Awakened One‘s own words
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